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What seniors told us about housing

Housing choices are affected by location and driving ability. Seniors want to be close to shopping, social activities and services. Seniors who live in buildings where services are provided appreciate them.

“For us, being downtown has huge advantages. We can walk to where we want to go. We can walk to our church. We can walk to the grocery store. We can walk to the bank. We can walk to the coffee shop. We can walk to the restaurant ...” (BURLINGTON)

“She didn’t know how to get around. She doesn’t speak much English. She is Vietnamese. She didn’t know how to get out in Milton to find out how to get somewhere … it is too far to walk … to the Milton Mall or where ever she needed to go. So I know that was a problem for her.” (MILTON DIVERSE )

“…that to my mind is the formula that ought Affordability can greatly affect seniors housing choices.

Seniors expressed concern regarding costs related to home ownership, maintenance/renovations. The cost of retirement homes and long term care was also a concern.

 “No affordable housing for seniors in this town. It is getting to be a bigger and bigger problem.
Even in our building, our costs keep going up and up. A lot of folks are on fixed pensions and
pensions aren’t getting any bigger, the squeeze is on more and more. Unless you have
independent income, it must be very difficult to live in this town as a senior.” (MILTON)

“You asked the question why people would move out of Burlington. We said taxes, heat, hydro, tips, fees, hiring someone for services, leaf raking. It just goes on and on.” (BURLINGTON)

“Well, in Burlington we have a service that will clear out seniors’ driveways but it’s a lottery and there’s only 100 people…” (BURLINGTON)

“… I am reaching the point where money will run out and I will have to do something.” (BURLINGTON)

“I am lucky enough to have a fairly good income but like you, I don’t want to have to spend it all on care. So you have to weigh up what you can afford in your house as to what you can afford in a retirement place and that is what I am mulling over now because each year utilities get higher and prices are high for this that and the other and the cost of retirement homes go up so you have to weigh the pros and cons.”(OAKVILLE)

to be there, that you can age in one location and not lose your friends or contacts or the knowledge you have of the district.” (OAKVILLE)

“Doctor is close by, can get to medical services easily. Community support services are available.” (OAKVILLE)

“Other than affordable, I think housing has to be in a downtown area where you can walk to. … We looked at places in the new subdivisions but what do you do up there if you can’t drive?” (MILTON)

“The area we live in is very nice for walking ... there is no place to walk for groceries any longer.” (BURLINGTON)

“Once you get older if you can’t drive you have to go somewhere you can take a bus. There really is no transportation in Campbellville.” (MILTON)

“One thing for the seniors, we are talking dollar value because people are thinking if I sell my house and I move into a retirement home, you are running into $3,000 a month. It’s not going to last you very long when you sell your house, especially if your health is reasonably good. So I do think the government should take over assisting seniors in areas like this. There are assisted places in Georgetown but I don’t think there is enough.” (HALTON HILLS)

The level of accessibility of a senior’s home can force them to move unless they have supportive services to enable them to stay in their own home.

“We went from a large home that had stairs to an apartment and so I was very thankful to be
on one floor…” (BURLINGTON)

“This townhouse can’t accommodate the (wheel) chair so I can see down the road where we have to make a change because of health. Stairs and looking after the outside…” (OAKVILLE)

“I don’t think homes are designed for the ease of older people living in them …” (HALTON HILLS)

“There is a little bit more worry … if you are living on your own, what tradesperson is not going to make a worse mess of what you have? It is difficult to get competent people.” (BURLINGTON)

“Can’t you get a grant or something to help you renovate to make it wider?” (HALTON HILLS)

Availability and affordability of support services can help seniors to stay in their homes.

“I have a girl that comes in every Monday from Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) … and then on Thursday’s (my wife) goes to Sheridan College (Adult Day Program) and I do all the groceries and running about. I’m quite happy the way we are going, but our case manager is always saying to me any time you want any extra time, just call me. And then we also have a new thing that started here: Recharge.” (OAKVILLE)

“I called one of the private firms that do caregiving or housekeeping. Well I ran into a block right there … no, there are rules and regulations. So you have a companion. Then you have the CCAC that comes in and bathes the person… it goes on and on. Everybody is specialized in what they are doing. The cost keeps going up. You don’t know what you are faced with …very hard to navigate.” (BURLINGTON)

“… so the next move in order to maintain some degree of independence … it will have to be an apartment so long as I can cook but luckily there are back up systems there. There are some quite good meal plans that you can get, so I think I could survive on that. Then after that I really don’t know. It rather depends on how badly I deteriorate … the formula which I believe that was absolutely wonderful was Bronte. They built the two towers. The left hand tower could be married couples living together, if they didn’t want to (cook), then they could book a meal and go down to the restaurant for that. On the other side, the singles ... .” (OAKVILLE)

Most seniors feel safe in their homes.

 “I am in a wheelchair and this apartment is not wheelchair accessible and to compound the problem there are 10 stairs to ground level. There is no help available in this apartment. If I have to move I would have to move to LTC. My husband is in LTC and I would like to move there except there is no vacancy.” (BURLINGTON)

“…Unless Milton changes and offers affordable housing and the kind of housing we will need, I probably won’t be staying. If we leave Milton it means leaving my bridge and leaving my friends. When you are going into an age where you are not as active and not as capable of making new friends, is it wise? It’s a dilemma, where do we go because I don’t think that Milton will be able to meet those needs.” (MILTON)

“The sad thing about it is, I have heard this a few times. Because of the lack of housing for seniors in Acton, people have had to move out of Acton. Left all their friends and connections behind because they couldn’t find anywhere to live and had to move to Georgetown or Brampton to find accommodation they needed.” (HALTON HILLS)

“It is very confusing when you go to see these places. There is a difference between
them ...” (BURLINGTON)

Burlington seniors worry about seniors who do not know about scams and frauds. Milton seniors value their homes if they are safe and have support services.

“…. people don’t answer the door anymore because they are afraid of who is on the other side.” (BURLINGTON)

“Yes, I feel safe in my home so far. I am in a bungalow. I have Lifeline which reassures me. I have my name in for a nursing home, but it is not a priority right now as I am still managing alone.” (OAKVILLE)

“We never see any policemen in (our neighbourhood) which is not good. We want to know they are around in case we need them, but they seem to be non-existent in this part of town.” (OAKVILLE)

Seniors expressed concern about the limited available housing options that are affordable, accessible and close to shopping and services. Halton Hills and Milton expressed concern regarding the lack of bungalows.

“I own my own house. I have 2 sons that would take me in. I am aware of seniors housing, but I have not put my name on the list. I am aware that there is a wait list.” (HALTON HILLS)

“I’m in a granny flat. Its part of (the house) but I do have 2 doors I can close.” (HALTON HILLS)

“I am looking at bungalow condos - something on one floor.” (HALTON HILLS)

Some seniors are planning for the future. Others are not. Housing transitions can be difficult, especially moving from their own home.

“I have a plan, it’s in place. My condominium is all paid for and all arrangements have been made… and I have a trustee in place.” (BURLINGTON)

“I do know all the options … I also have a daughter who has built a house with a room for me … They have a plan. “(BURLINGTON)

“They know there is available seniors housing but don’t know where to get help in Oakville.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“My wife and I downsized from house to condo a couple of years ago. It meets our needs and I’m sure it is safe … We have little knowledge of available facilities if we should need them in the future. The Oakville Seniors’ Residence is near and we know it provides excellent care.” (OAKVILLE)

“I wasn’t ready. Part of me wanted to give up my home and the other part was not ready … it’s hard, really hard to change. I think what’s hard is the conversation that adult children have to have with their parents about that.” (BURLINGTON)

“When I first moved here …I was nervous about my new surroundings but now that I have settled in, I feel more comfortable in my apartment. I now know other people on my floor so that if I need to knock on their door if I am in need of help, I can do so.” (OAKVILLE)

“Having some health issues that make being alone worrisome. ... House/yard work too much to handle anymore. Hoping to get into an apartment in Milton to be closer to husband who is at Allendale.” (HALTON HILLS)

“…Long-term care – we don’t have a choice when you’re our age. It’s our only alternative which I don’t want to do.” (BURLINGTON)

Seniors need information and support throughout the physical move.

 “… if you downsize from a house and go into an apartment … you sell off half your stuff and you end up with no storage … If I went into another place, I wouldn’t have any room at all …” (BURLINGTON)

“… people … to come in just to get rid of the junk …Where do you go to get resources like you are downsizing, whether you should donate, whether you should sell, who will come and get clothing you don’t want, old books? … Are there moving companies that will do small moves like that? … to move to a retirement home …because you want the television and book case and comfortable furniture …” (BURLINGTON)

“… If you don’t have the energy, it is very difficult … Amity and Goodwill … will pick up … the clothing drop off … Restore … the auction at Jo Brant.” (BURLINGTON)

“If people are forced to move, they need help with the move. Is there some way we can help people to downsize. To physically make that move possible for someone who is in a wheelchair or in poor health, are they left on their own. Is there any way the community can help with that?” (MILTON)

Seniors from diverse backgrounds are also having trouble transitioning due to language and cultural differences.

“Many seniors from the diverse community live with their children and provide care for their grandchildren. This is not always the perfect housing scenario due to cultural differences.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“… She lives with her eldest here in Burlington. The son-in-law went back to China to work so the eldest daughter has two children and she lives with her to help take care of them.” (BURLINGTON)

“… The daughter is happy she is here to take care of the kids, but they spend all their time
together and they have fights. Most of the time it is about how to raise the kids. She feels the schools are not very strict here and they have more play time, but in China it is quite different. Japan the same.” (BURLINGTON)

“They live in a retirement residence … the community residence building (offers sessions) for fire prevention and other health topics …but never attended because of the language barrier. (BURLINGTON)